I got home Thursday evening following the opening of the King Graduate School and Monroe College-funded Caribbean Leadership Forum just in time to catch the tail end of Senator James Fletcher’s budget presentation.
For the benefit of newly-arrived extra-terrestrials, Sen. Fletcher is the Minister for Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology. Quite a mouthful, right?
When I switched on my TV, he was praising his staff, whom he said were the hardest workers. “The ministry of information and broadcasting staff,” he said, “these are the hardest working staff.” (Is there a pay rise around the corner?)
He went on to underscore his point with the assertion that when public officers like himself travel, they hardly find time to enjoy the foreign scenery. He saw the cost of around half a million EC as money well spent which should not be cut.
With his multiplicity of portfolios, the senator needed another thirty minutes and was allowed requested extra time. He then went on about the digitisation centre, government’s web portal, the training of public officers, climate change, PBX systems and the topic of the day—diabetes and the removal of government subsidies on sugar.
Finally he came to the generally confusing issue of GIS, NTN and NBS. But this is what really grabbed my attention. “GIS,” he said, “the transition is taking place,” though “not as quickly and as smoothly” as he would like. GIS had some resource
constraints “but in some areas where we have deployed officers we are seeing very positive results.”
Among those “areas” was the office of the prime minister. I must mention here that a cameraman representing the office of the prime minster was indeed in attendance at the regional leadership forum last Thursday evening.
The topic? “Crime Reduction Strategies and Democratic Policing: Respect for Community and Human Rights.”
There was also a team from the “hard-working” GIS. A total of four: a driver, a technician, a reporter and another cameraman.
The purpose of the tax-funded five government information workers? To record the opening address by the prime minister. More on that later!
Of course for that obvious duplication of effort, taxpayers will have to fork out overtime. The evening’s activity started at 6:30 pm. I asked the cameraman from the office of the prime minister what was his assignment. He said he was recording the event “for a YouTube channel and other social media outlets.”
And we thought that particular Rosemary’s Baby was strictly Jadia’s.
Mind you, both the GIS staffers and the cameraman from the office of the prime minister are housed at the Hewanorra Building at Pointe Seraphine.
So much for the government’s cost-cutting measures and proposals to the Unions.